“Most people have no idea how good the human body is designed to feel.”
I’m paraphrasing a quote I once heard that I never truly understood until I removed sugar from my diet. I cut out refined sugar for a month only allowing myself naturally occurring sugars in fruits. My energy levels went through the roof, I was waking up before my alarm, and I felt better than I had in years. I couldn’t believe what a difference it made, and I was astonished to realize how crappy I had been feeling before without even realizing it.
Many of us are walking around tired and cranky, suffering from headaches and stress yet we just accept it as normal. How sad that we believe this is just the way life is. This post today is going to explore the basics of well-being. While some of this information may seem obvious, It’s always beneficial to go back to the basics and remind ourselves what our incredible bodies need not just to survive but to thrive.
Think of your body as the vehicle that carries you through this lifetime. Like a car it needs to be properly fueled and maintained in order to last longer. The better the quality of the fuel and the more often it’s maintained, the smoother and longer the ride will be.
The human body is an incredibly complex machine with a vast array of functions happening simultaneously at any given point. It has 5 basic requirements in order to function optimally, which are oxygen, water, food, movement and rest. When deprived of these things the machine will start to break down.
1) Oxygen is easy to obtain and fortunately not something we have to think about moment to moment as our body does our breathing unconsciously. It is beneficial however to take a few moments of your day and do some conscious breathing. Deep full inhales and exhales help reduce stress, improve clarity and focus, stimulate blood flow and a myriad of other benefits. Some people call this meditation, but whatever you call it, take some time to consider your breath and its importance to your well-being.
2) Water is of utmost importance to our health. We ourselves are 75% water, so it is important to keep a fresh supply coming in to keep things running smoothly. Drinking enough water each day (at LEAST 2 litres!) helps to keep your skin glowing and your energy levels up. It improves digestion and helps stimulate elimination, and flushes water-soluble toxins from your body through your kidneys. Try switching your sugar-laden sodas and juices for water and your body will thank you!
3) Food. Many of us have a love hate relationship with it. Or we simply don’t consider its importance other than something we shove in our face to make the hunger pangs go away. There is an infinite amount of information out there regarding nutrition but here’s a real basic breakdown for you:
Our body needs a good balance of nutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals and vitamins in order to perform all of its necessary functions. We get these nutrients from the foods we eat. If we don’t eat a good variety of nutritional food, our body can’t operate at an optimium rate.
So what about all these people out there that don’t give a shit about any of this, constantly pollute their bodies with drugs, alcohol and sweets or never have a vegetable pass their lips? How do they keep on living? Well, the body is able to keep people alive through a process of prioritization. What little nutrients they are receiving go to the most important functions that are vital to survival whereas areas that are not as important to survival suffer. Often when someone is malnourished you can see it right away in their teeth, skin, hair and nails. This is only sustainable for some time before the body will start to give up, after years of malnourishment the organs will break down. Heart failure, diabetes, liver failure, osteoporosis, cancer are just a handful of the diseases that could occur. Just because one ‘feels fine’ now, does not mean that they aren’t setting themselves up for some major problems down the road.
4) Movement is important to bodily functioning. You don’t have to hit the treadmill for hours a day or be an elite athlete, but it is important to move your body, get your heart working a little harder and get your blood flowing. Resistance training is good for your muscles, joints and bone strength. Yoga and stretching are good for blood and lymph flow and help nutrients get into all the nooks and crannies, while helping to remove waste from your body. Try to find ways to get your body moving every day even if it’s just a matter of taking the stairs instead of the elevator or parking the car a little further from the door. Instead of complaining about strenuous tasks like lifting objects or walking far distances, enjoy it as a mini workout until you can make time for the real deal.
5) Rest is last but not least. Many of us lead busy lives and when there just aren’t enough hours in a day sleep is often the first thing to get cut. This is a dire mistake. Sleep is crucial to our well-being. Many important functions are happening within us while we sleep, neural pathways are being formed, blood vessels are being repaired, and hormone levels are balanced just to offer a few examples. Turn off the Netflix and get that extra hour of sleep!
Remember, the human body is a glorious vessel that can offer you infinite bliss when treated properly. You don’t have to survive each day suffering from exhaustion and headaches. If this is how you’re living, consider these basics and whether you might have any areas for improvement. By making positive changes to your diet and exercise routine you just might be amazed at how your life changes. Having energy and feeling positive would create the space to achieve all the things you are trying to do in a much more efficient manner. You owe it to your body and to yourself!